November 21, 2007 (by Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston) - Bigger, faster, stronger. That is what the Air Force has in mind with its new J model C-130 Hercules aircraft, unveiled at Ramstein on November 9th and meant to replace the C-130E.
ANG C-130J 99-1431 is prepped for takeoff at Ramstein AB, Germany on November 8, 2007. The C-130Js are slated to replace the C-130E Hercules aircraft on Ramstein.
With an extended cargo bay and added features, the C-130J is set to attack and execute any mission set in front of it, officials said.
"Adding the C-130J to Ramstein's airlift mission will greatly aid in mission success" said Major Jason Terry, who is with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
Ramstein currently has 17 C-130E model aircraft, all of which are still scheduled to fly until they are completely phased out by the new C-130J's between 2009 and 2011.
Air National Guard member Master Sgt. John McDonald felt the difference, he said.
"I noticed the take off was a lot faster and smoother than the C-130E," he said. "The flight seemed quick and smooth. Guard members at Quonset State Airport, Rhode Island are excited to be among the first to have the new C-130Js assigned to them."
Some of the added features to the C-130 include a flexible design, which enables the aircraft to be configured for many different missions. This allows one aircraft to perform the role of many.
"The new cockpit of the aircraft really enhances situational awareness with bigger windows," said Lt. Col. Todd Oliver, who is with the 38th Airlift Squadron (Provisional). "Larger and more accurate radars have made it easier for us pilots to successfully reach our destinations no matter the weather."
Fewer dials in the C-130's cockpit have made for a sleeker and modern look, said Major Terry. The more efficient cockpit has reduced the workload of the aircrew reducing aircrew members to four personnel from six.
The Combined Noise Abatement Committee met with Brig. Gen. Rich Johnston, 86th Airlift Wing commander, to discuss how the noise of the new aircraft would affect the Kaiserslautern community.
Committee members where able to watch as the C-130J took off, landed, and taxied around the Ramstein flight line. After witnessing this, committee members were impressed with the seemingly reduced noise of the new aircraft and welcomed the C-130J to Ramstein.
"The C-130 is a very well-loved aircraft, it's one of the aircraft that the Air Force is most known for," said Major Terry. "Most people recognize the C-130 as bringing help. It's great to see it evolve into what it is today."